Author Archives: Derek

Allegheny Recovery Krew Guest Speakers

ARK (Allegheny Recovery Krew) is led by Gus and Shawna down near the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.  Shawna was a former Alpine Springs client who has achieved much success from where she once was.  Teamed up with Gus and others to form ARK, they work with local churches and private investors to fix up houses and turn them into recovery homes aimed at clients who are trying to catch their bearings after rehabilitation.  Here they teach clients life skills in the form of construction while being able to earn money while trying to get back on their feet.  View the full guest speaking below.

You can reach ARK by calling 412-414-9235 or 412-403-9084.

Guest Speaker Jacob Gland

We are very excited to have hosted Jacob Gland at our Linesville Facility Friday, January 3, 2020.

Jacob Gland is an Erie, PA native who is a Motivational Speaker as well as a Recovery & Life Coach.

He more specifically tailors his talks for those who have been affected by addiction. He provides strength-based support and guidance for those in recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction, codependency and other addictive behaviors.

The main goal of his coaching is to develop action plans that create positive change and achieve future goals. After being in the manufacturing industry for 8 years and battling addiction himself, he felt God pulled him towards helping individuals and their families to improve their quality of life.

From repairing relationships to restoring nutritional health, he emphatically understands the struggles and adversity that recovering addicts go through while dealing with this deadly disease. He also understands the trials and tribulations that their families go through.

The passion he has for life is unparalleled and will do whatever is necessary to provide the appropriate resources for an individual to succeed.

Jacob is very involved with public speaking and visits various treatment facilities to share his experience, strength, and hope so that he may help patients see that recovery is possible even in the most darkest of circumstances. He truly cares about everyone he comes in contact with and it shows when in his presence and through his work.

He holds an International Masters in Addiction Coaching from the Addictions Academy therefore he is a qualified candidate to guide you through your recovery journey.

https://www.recoverycoachingwithjacobgland.com/

Smoothies

At Alpine Springs, nutrition plays an important role in making sure our clients maintain and learn about how to live a healthy lifestyle.  That’s why we decided to overhaul our smoothie program! After our on-site full time chef decided on 8 flavors, we shared these and performed a taste test at our Linesville, PA location among staff and clients.  The Alpine family decided on three main flavors which will be offered every Tuesday and Thursday at Linesville, and everyday for our Detox facility in Jamestown, PA.  The new smoothies use a mix of concentrate with real fruit, which is much better than we offered before (solely the concentrate).  We are very excited, as are our clients, to introduce these new choices for 2020.  The flavors are as follows:

  • Peach, Pear, Apricot
  • Mango, Banana
  • Wild Berry, Pomegranate

These smoothies each offer their own unique nutrition benefits as well as intense flavor – and best of all, NO SUGAR ADDED!

 

Tyler Smilo Live at Alpine Springs in Linesville, PA

Alpine Springs was proud to host Erie Musician Tyler Smilo at our Linesville, PA Community location on December 13, 2019. Tyler played ten songs and shared insight about what he’s learned on his path to recovery with the residents ranging from his childhood through his relapse. In between songs he had heart to heart conversations with the clients. After a few hours, they were sad to see him go! Thank you for coming, Tyler, and we hope to see you back soon!

1. Speaking to the Colors Again
2. Blood in the Water (3:09)
3. The Fallen (6:45)
4. Texas (11:02)
5. It Was You (15:26)
6. Heirs to the Throne (18:50)
7. Burn the Rivers (23:20)
8. Dust in the Grave (26:14)
10. The Wolf (30:08)
11. Save Me (34:09)

You can find his music here.

3 Year CARF Accreditation Acquired

What is CARF?

CARF provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of health and human service providers. Whether you are seeking rehabilitation for a disability, treatment for addiction and substance abuse, home and community services, retirement living, or other health and human services, you can have confidence in your choice. Providers that meet our standards have demonstrated their commitment to being among the best available.

CARF accreditation types:

***Three-Year Accreditation: The organization satisfies each of the CARF Accreditation Conditions and demonstrates substantial conformance to the standards. It is designed and operated to benefit the persons served. The organization demonstrates quality improvement from any previous periods of CARF accreditation.

One-Year Accreditation: The organization satisfies each of the CARF Accreditation Conditions and demonstrates conformance to many of the standards. Although there are significant areas of deficiency in relation to the standards, there is evidence of the organization’s capability to correct the deficiencies and commitment to progress toward their correction.

Provisional Accreditation: Following the expiration of a One-Year Accreditation, a Provisional Accreditation is awarded to an organization that is still functioning at the level of a One-Year Accreditation. A Provisional Accreditation is awarded for a period of one year. An organization with a Provisional Accreditation must be functioning at the level of a Three-Year Accreditation at its next survey or it will receive a survey outcome of Nonaccreditation.

Nonaccreditation: The organization has major deficiencies in several areas of the standards, and there are serious questions as to the benefits of services; there are serious questions as to the health, welfare, or safety of those served; the organization has failed over time to bring itself into substantial conformance to the standards; or the organization has failed to satisfy one or more of the CARF Accreditation Conditions.

Preliminary Accreditation: This allows new organizations to establish demonstrated use and implementation of standards prior to the direct provision of services to persons served. There is evidence of processes and systems for service and program delivery designed to provide a reasonable likelihood that the services and programs will benefit the persons served. A full follow-up survey is conducted approximately six months following the initiation of services to persons served.

Accreditation with stipulations: If an organization’s accreditation status is displayed as having stipulations, CARF may require ongoing reporting or other action from the provider regarding its progress in maintaining conformance to the accreditation standards. Please contact the organization directly for details.

The above information was pulled from CARF’s website.

***Three year accreditation is what we are proud to have achieved.  This is HUGE for a newer company to receive a full 3 years accreditation (on the first try), and we are very proud to share this with the community!  We have beds available for both detox and inpatient.  Call the admissions office at 814.818.0002

 

Learn more at http://www.carf.org

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Stress

Set a budget this holiday season so that you’re not stressed about money post holiday season.  With Black Friday and other sales happening, its easy to spend hundreds of dollars.  Setting up a budget for this time can help prevent post holiday stress.  Remember there are other costs to shopping as well, such as gas expenditure.  Taking advantage of online sales may be a great solution for some people.

Don’t feel obligated to buy more than you can afford.  Buying gifts for others should never affect your ability to pay your bills, nor should it be a justification for using credit cards because of the tempting complications of going over your budget.  Staying within your means is a great way to avoid holiday stress.

Get plenty of exercise.  Even though you might not have the time, its important to make the time.  Exercise can elevate your mood and help you cope with stress in a very impactful way.  Aiming for at least 30 minutes a day for some sort of physical activity a minimum of three times a week is ideal to see benefits of exercising. Walking, Jogging, Swimming, and Sports are all great examples of activities to avoid holiday stress.

Get plenty of sleep.  Insufficient sleep can lead to many health complications, and most certainly a contributor to holiday stress.  Sometimes this time of year may be hard to get the recommended eight-hours-a-night, but its something we should all try to strive for.  Try setting a budget on chores for company coming over and be adamant about having a cut off time for bed.  Respecting the amount of sleep you get will carry on drastically with everything else you do.

If having company over, don’t overdo it.  Keeping it simple can alleviate some of the holiday stress on your plate.  Welcoming guests into your home shouldn’t consist of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.  You don’t have to do everything yourself.  Get family members involved to help and instead of preparing an entire meal alone, ask each person to bring a dish. 

Choose your battles.  Everyone has their own personalities.  It’s important to stay mindful and not allow remarks to get under your skin.  This can lead to an absolutely miserable and stressful holiday.  Agreeing to disagree is okay, and in heated conversations this can be overlooked.  This is a great way to avoid anxiety and stress.

Remember that relationships matter.  Holidays are a great time to strengthen bridges with close friends and family.  Think about what a holiday would be like alone and by yourself.  What you may take for granted, others would do almost anything to experience.  Time is much too short to not cherish the memories of seeing friends and family.  There is a large added benefit to soaking up every minute with those you care about.

Alpine Springs Road to Recovery: Tyler Smilo

Tyler Smilo is a local Erie, Pennsylvania artist who has gone through the recovery process multiple times throughout his life.  He has started a podcast, “Sink, Swim, or Fly“, which has already been recognized locally after only a handful of episodes featuring a variety of guests.   He can be found in the tri-state area playing live shows either solo or with his band, “Smilo & the Ghost“.  Here is his story.

Q: What is addiction in your own words?

A: What addiction is to me is an obsessive and compulsive disorder.  And in active use, I think it takes over the forefront of what survival is.  It completely takes control of all instincts and puts addiction at the forefront and the need to get high in front of any other life responsibility.

I always got that thought “oh I can control it…I can go out, you know have a few drinks, smoke a little weed and I’ll be fine”. And that might’ve been the case for a few months (or even several months) but eventually I ended up in the worst possible place.

Q: Tell us about your childhood.

A: So yeah my biological father has been out of my life since I was two years old and from what I understand now, he as well is an addict and has spent majority of his life in prison (in a penitentiary in Texas) for drug use and manufacturing drugs – specifically methamphetamine.  But my childhood, I was adopted at like five or six by my father and there was some…. there was some abuse and, you know, some…It wasn’t the perfect family all around.  But I think that I was genetically…. you know, there was something attached to it there.

 

Q: When did you realize you were an addict?

A: Well I didn’t….I probably did – I got into drugs when I was about twelve years old and started using marijuana and I didn’t really see it being a problem until I was living in Pittsburgh in about 2006 when I was basically homeless, addicted to heroin, and uh, all my belongings were in a vehicle and I – I packed up my things, well, they were in the vehicle, and I went to my grandmas in Ohio and the first time I ever I guess fully detoxed out of about a year or two of consistent heroin use I went thru a five or six day detox that just shook me; I mean it was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.  Super physical pain and mental panic.  And then I struggled with heroin for several years after that.

 

Q: When did you truly accept who you are, and how did you come to terms with it?

A: Over the years I’ve accepted I was an addict, and then with not regularly going to meetings or regularly staying in contact with support groups or staying in treatment, I would forget those facts it seemed like.  I would put them in the back of my head and id try drinking again or try smoking weed again and every time I did those things, it ended up exactly the same place.  You know – me with nothing, with all my bridges burnt and just sick.  You know?  So, I think when I got clean last October in 2018, I truly accepted that in no variation that I could successfully use.  You know I couldn’t successfully use alcohol, I couldn’t successfully just smoke marijuana; it was any drugs was an issue for me.  And that I think that was true acceptance.  That I no longer could use any sort of drugs in any combination.

 

Q: When did you hit “Rock Bottom”?

A: I’d say rock bottom for me was having no place to go, no place to call, no money, and living in my car basically in a parking lot of a country fair. I’d done music for; I had been clean and done music and built up a reputation and positive things in the region…and done it professionally…. but it got to the point where I was missing shows, I had no… basically nobody on my team and was living out of my car.  And that was about rock bottom for me.

 

Q: Tell us about your relapse experience

A: I guess for me relapse was always a progression. I always got that thought “oh I can control it…I can go out, you know have a few drinks, smoke a little weed and I’ll be fine”. And that might’ve been the case for a few months (or even several months) but eventually I ended up in the worst possible place.

 

Q: Tell us about the cycle patterns of relapse that you struggled with

A: So, every time I’ve ever relapsed it always was a progression.  It started with me losing sight that I was an addict and I could drink successfully, or I could smoke weed or do other things and it was always (sometimes faster than others) it was always a downhill spiral.  That’s happened like five or six times…I’ve done treatment maybe five…five to seven times over the last twelve years.  But it was always a progression. 

I think initially in 2009 I had- I had gotten a year of clean time and relapsed and eventually ended up back on opiates.  2010 I went to treatment and got on suboxone program.   I would just use suboxone for two years, ended up getting off suboxone and was clean for almost five years and then in 2015 or 2016 I relapsed and then got clean again in 2018.  So, I had a year, and then four and a half/five years, and now a year.  Clean.

 

Q:  Self-Acceptance

A:  For me self-acceptance is an ongoing process.  I truly believe in the twelve-step program.  I truly believe that in depth step work with a sponsor is the ultimate guide to self-acceptance.  I don’t think it’s anything that I have down today, but it gets better each day that I don’t pick up.

 

Q:  Tell us about your road to recovery.

A:  The recovery is definitely ongoing. I know that this disease or disorder or whatever you want to call it is ongoing and it’s going to be a process that Ill deal with for the rest of my life.   But so far, this last 13 months of being clean has been some of the hardest time in my life.   Not every day was easy, it does seem to get easier every day.  And I know if I don’t pick up – if I don’t use today, that I’ll just get a little bit better.  But uh…it’s definitely going to be a journey and I’ve accepted that and trust in the process of where I’m at in this moment…but yeah, I don’t know what’s in store.

 

Q:  How did your podcast come about, and what do you hope to achieve with it?

A:  so, I started a podcast called “sink, swim, or fly” and it focuses on the two things that I know most about: which is addiction and art/music in the region.

It’s pretty open ended – we talk a lot about whatever is going on with the guest or addiction, recovery, music, local arts.  I hope people will hear that and see that you shouldn’t be ashamed to be an addict and good things can come from addictive people and that there’s others out there like you.

DBS vs MBT

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a new form of procedure and has had its first clinical trial in the US down in West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. It is used when all other forms of treatment are exhausted but the patient still suffers from opioid use disorder. The procedure is essentially a form of surgery that places electrodes inside the patient’s brain, interrupting typical brain behavior in regards to controlling an addict’s craving or an OCD patient’s urge to perform a ritual. DBS is an FDA-approved treatment for Parkinson’s disease, major depressive disorder, epilepsy, and others with an overall successful history record.

Mind-Body Therapies (MBT) consist of a more soothing, non-pharma based methods of pain management in the form of meditation, hypnosis relaxation techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The University of Utah in Salt Lake City has conducted a study on the results of over six thousand cases involving a range of MBTs including meditation, hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery, therapeutic suggestion, and CBT. The results had encouragingly revealed that MBTs had a statistically significant association with reduced opioid dosing.

“Insofar as MBTs are associated with pain relief and opioid use reduction among patients prescribed opioids for a range of pain conditions,” they add, “MBTs may help alleviate the opioid crisis.”
– Professor Eric Garland

Alpine Springs Rehabilitation and Recovery practices include some of the MBTs described above and accepts a wide range of insurances, including medicare.  For more information, please contact us at 814.818.0002.

Aromatherapy Usage in Addiction Recovery

Aromatherapy oils are not a magical potion for addiction, however it can be very beneficial to add them to your daily treatment while foregoing a treatment program, such as the one we offer at Alpine Springs.

Holistic therapy, otherwise known as Essential Oil Therapy, can help relax and calm addictive thoughts while undergoing a cleanse. Aromatherapy is a type of holistic therapy that more and more facilities are exploring. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy defines it as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize, and promote the health of body, mind, and spirit.”

It is important to check with your addiction counselor before stocking up on oils in order to make sure the oils don’t interfere with any health conditions or any medications you may be on. You want to make sure they are therapeutic grade oils that don’t include harmful fillers.

These oils can help drastically in various forms, each with their own focused remedy.

Relaxation

If you’re in rehab, recovery is often an emotional roller coaster. Aromatherapy is often touted for its soothing and relaxing effects, especially when using orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit or any other citrus oils. Also effective for relaxation is Lavender, Eucalyptus, Ylang Ylang, Chamomile.

Mental Clarity

A few essential oils have been studied to reduce brain fog, which is a common symptom of post-acute withdrawal syndromes, otherwise known as PAWS. During PAWS, people in recovery may experience mental confusion and have difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions. Oils linked to more clear thought patterns include Sage, Rosemary, and Ginger.

Aches and Pain

Physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension and nausea are also common during early recovery. Some oils that may help alleviate physical discomfort as your body continues to heal are listed as Peppermint, Rosemary, and Clove.

Mindfulness

Learning to stay in the present moment, or practicing mindfulness, is a skill that will help you throughout various stages of your recovery. Mindfulness helps restore emotional balance and gives you greater mental clarity to make more fulfilling choices throughout recovery. Some of the oils you can add to your meditation routine for Mindfulness include Sandalwood, Cedar-wood, and Eucalyptus.

How To Get Your Loved One The Treatment They Need

It’s never easy trying to help a friend who is struggling with addiction.  That first step of initiating the conversation about their substance abuse can be very uncomfortable for all involved.  Here are some tips to educate yourself about the signs of addiction and how to confront them.

Before you have any discussion, it is important to find a rehabilitation program that suits the level of addiction they face. Research is important.  Ask questions.  Also keep in mind that depending on what their addiction problem consists of, they may need a detox treatment before starting therapy.  Find out exactly how the program works while planning on having your friend start treatment immediately – don’t wait a moment after the talk.  Once you have the info sorted out, it’s time to have a serious discussion with the person in question.

First thing to remember is it’s very important to discuss your concerns with your friend or family member when they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  If they aren’t sober during the discussion, they are much less likely to not absorb the impact that their habits are making on friends and family, yet alone themselves.  Meeting in a neutral place to talk is also a good idea, while trying to make the conversation last for more than just a minute or two.  If you have any doubt, a group intervention may be your best choice, especially if the person in question is reluctant to get help.  Getting friends and family together out of a mutual concern to confront their loved one and confront them to get help with an addiction professional

Conversation Environment

Creating an environment that promotes a dual sided conversation so they don’t feel lectured or cornered is also ideal.  Be sure to list the dangerous behaviors that you see them performing and reinforce the seriousness of worry you’re feeling that their addiction is having on both them and their family.  Experts suggest developing and repeating a consistent, yet positive message in a loving and caring light.  Let them know you urge them to get help and that you will help them take the first step.

Last thing to remember:  Many people struggling with addiction do not realize how much their family and friends love them.  Be loving and supportive and let them know that you’re going to support them throughout their journey to recovery.

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Lack of motivation
  • Neglected responsibilities
  • Loss of interest in school, work, or hobbies
  • Poor performance in school or work
  • Self-isolation
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Lack of concern for appearance and hygiene
  • Stealing or selling possessions to buy drugs
  • Risky behavior (such as drunk driving)
  • Preoccupation with obtaining drugs

Physical Symptoms:

  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Pupils that are smaller or larger than normal
  • Bloody or runny nose
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination

Social Symptoms and Other Clues:

  • Legal issues
  • Financial difficulties
  • Socializing with others who abuse drugs
  • Drug paraphernalia (spoons, syringes, pipes)